Friday, December 8, 2017


What  River Mumma Knows

River Mumma Knows things —

the underground trod of Hector's Spring,

of One Eye River. The tributaries feed

the red mangroves of Black River.

Over 100 square miles of Great Morass

are stomping ground of River Mumma.

She knows rocks under which

live large colonies of 'shrimp', or  'swims',

depending on how you learnt to say things.

She knows even more than Goby Fish

where in river bottom alligator lives.

Wag Water is her own most sacred home,

secret place where is kept the famous

golden comb. In Drivers River, Manchioneel,

swim three last manatees who are

to mermaids as chimpanzees are

to man. Some days River Mumma

just sits cool on a bank, waiting

for signs that prove the prehistoric cows

still evolve towards the magic of herself.

Somewhere in Martha Brae lies the body

of Nora — selfish child who refused Dry River

token portion of ackee — small toll

for privilege of crossing; the girl insisted

she would rather dead.

Dry River call her bluff and come dung

heavy upon her head.

But River Mumma knows

not all things caught to be known.

Not all places ought to be found.

She cries 'Abu ye!  Abu ye!'

and swims towards her ground.


The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion
Carcanet, 2014